The Kentucky Department of Parks received more than 1,000 reservations for 5,811 nights in the two days after its campground reservations system went live for the first time in early February.
Campers could make reservations by telephone beginning in early February, and could make reservations online by mid-February.
The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington was the most popular camping destination in the first few days. It was followed by Barren River Lake State Resort Park in Lucas, Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond, Green River State Park in Campbellsville and Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill.
“The launch really exceeded my expectations,” said Dan Maenza, the parks’ director of customer service. “We accepted reservations for nearly all of our 32 campgrounds. And, with very few exceptions, we were able to hold the time that callers spent waiting to just a few minutes.”
In the past, the most frequent comment from potential state park campers was their reluctance to depend on the first-come, first-served method. They didn’t want to load all their gear and food for a long weekend of camping only to be turned away at the gate. For this reason, they opted to camp at parks in other states. With the new reservation system in place, Kentucky State Parks officials believe there will be more people camping in their campgrounds.
“This is a great step forward for the Kentucky parks system,” said John Combs of Lexington, who camps at several parks, including the Kentucky Horse Park and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. “As a camper, this will make camping more enjoyable and take away the stress of going on a 150-mile drive and not having to worry about getting a site when you get there.”
Guests may reserve their sites with a credit card up to one year in advance by calling 1-888-4KYPARK. The system became available online on Feb. 15, at www.parks.ky.gov or www.reserveamerica.com
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 52 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks visit www.parks.ky.gov
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